When I saw the exit polls predicting a hung parliament, I was quite worried, but I still clung to some kind of hope that, maybe people were lying to the polls again. When I got up in the morning, I awoke to realise that the exit polls were right. The Tories failed to win an outright majority, and thus, with only 313 seats as I’m writing this, we have entered a hung parliament. The future of my country is uncertain, and the blame for all of this lies with Theresa May. She called this election with the sole intent of strengthening her majority, and in the end she ended up weakening her’s and potentially putting Brexit at risk. As I’m writing this, the Tories are now attempting to form a coalition government with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (who have 10 seats), and if the Tories manage to win enough seats, this could be possible.
Of course we know why this has happened. Theresa May could have had the sweeping majority she wanted. All she had to do was not screw it up. She could have just focused on Brexit and controlling immigration, and she could have gone about making the public case for a hard Brexit scenario. Instead, she didn’t bother going on TV debates with the opposition, making her look weak. She used her overconfident position to put forward widely unpopular policies, such as fox hunting, and regulation of the Internet. She believed that the Brexit-voting public would simply default to her in order to secure Brexit, but the electorate saw right through it, and thus we have our current situation.
Labour, meanwhile, benefitted not just from a significant share of the UKIP vote, but also from a surge of young voters flocking to Labour. This election has been very good for the Marxists in the Labour Party, and I think this is primarily because the Tories wanted to police the Internet. They could have secured the young vote if they at least kept that part secret until they got elected. I also have to concede that Jeremy Corbyn ran a more positive campaign than Theresa May did. Corbyn, for all his faults, at least tried to appeal to voters, and was able to inspire a genuine following. All Theresa May had was a bunch of empty slogans. Her entire campaign was based on assuming that she had this in the bag, and the only way she could inspire people to vote was through the same old scare tactics. Whether or not she’s right about Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t change the fact that people are bored with the old politics of fear.
I can’t help but think that Theresa May deliberately screwed this up. If she wanted to, she could have carried this election. There’s no way she should have done this badly, so I think it’s possible that she deliberately set her campaign up to either fail to get the vote, or enter a wobbly hung parliament, so that she could abdicate her obligation to fulfil the will of the people. After all, she did campaign on the Remain side of the referendum. If there’s a chance that she might have a way out of actually delivering Brexit, I think she would take it. Then again, it could just be pure incompetence, which is unsurprising given her performance as Home Secretary.
Whatever the outcome after the election, two things are certain. First, Theresa May will not resign. She still has the most seats in Parliament, so she could try to either assemble a coalition, or continue on in a minority government, though I think that whatever she does, there will now be Tory MP’s who will turn against her, and try to undermine her in government, with the goal of possibly removing her from the Tory leadership.
Secondly, with UKIP obliterated, the SNP in decline, the Greens remaining stagnant and the Lib Dems only enjoying marginal growth, today’s election results signal a return to two-party politics. Every party has seen a decline in their share of votes except for Labour and the Conservatives. We haven’t seen a result like this since October 1974, when Labour’s Harold Wilson returned to power in a minority government. It doesn’t look likely that Jeremy Corbyn will resign, given that this is the best possible result Labour could hope for. Whenever the next election is held, the path is clear. We will be faced with the terrible decision of either electing a band of Marxist ideologues under Labour, or electing a clearly incompetent Conservative party that can’t even win a significant majority anymore. Either way, politics as usual will never be the same again.